Illinois commuters will get a jolt on Tuesday — and beyond — when MoDOT closes one westbound lane of the Poplar Street Bridge through August 2015. There will be periods over the next year and a half when there will be as many as two westbound lanes closed. MoDOT will begin a major reconstruction of the ramps that lash together Interstates 44, 55 and 64 just west of the Mississippi River.
So ok. We all know the 44 exit from the bridge is what slows up traffic and is where so many of the big trucks get off. But for Pete's sake, this is going to be awful for anyone trying to get from Illinois into St. Louis. It might have been bearable if there hadn't been constant work and closures for other things going on in the same area for the past couple of years.
I had to laugh ironically when I read this quote from MoDOT engineer Greg Horn in the Post Dispatch story: "It will be substantial change,” Horn told the Ride Guy. "There are probably not as many people using the new (Stan Musial Veterans Memorial) bridge as there could be. This will probably force them to use it."
So they built a new bridge ostensibly to get traffic off the Poplar which hasn't happened because most drivers coming in from the east head down the central corridor or the south corridor. Anyone who goes that way regularly knows this. And they now want to force people who work central to take the Musial Veterans Bridge to the north, drive through downtown surface streets until they're able to catch 64 and continue on.
Going to be not fun.